Category Archives: motivation

Summer Race Recap

usat 2016

This is what started my summer of insanity!

I have been meaning for a few weeks to recap my summer of limited racing.  The one disadvantage of working in a bike shop full time is that the busy season is summer, which means that training and racing are less than ideal.  But I did not let it stop me or slow me down, it just required me to find unique times to train and to focus on only a few key events.  The drawback of trying to squeeze in training time is over-exhaustion.  All summer, I worked out at 5 am and by bedtime I was plain and simply wiped.  I am thankful my family and friends put up with me during the whole training ordeal, I was anything but a fun person to be around and know I created a lot of undue stress in the household.  After my long summer of chaos, it made me really wonder how Ironman athletes do it.  The family-work-training balance was tough enough just prepping for Olympic Distance Age Group Nationals.  I cannot even begin to imagine the pressure and stress related to a full Ironman.  Kuddos to those that are really dialed in when it comes to balancing everything.

Some of you have asked me to highlight my race experiences from summer.  So now that my triathlon race season is over, I can finally digest the coaching and two races I did and reflect.  Summer started off with training my triathlon clients for their events.  For the 5th season, myself and my gym sidekick Stacy trained a large group, approximately 30 clients, both male and female to prep for events such as Omaha Women’s, Omaha Triathlon, Papillion Triathlon…The exciting news this year was we gained a handful of awesome guys.  They brought a nice balance to the group and I can’t lie, the male aspect was a pleasant change.  As in years past, all the athletes challenged and motivated one another and made the season fun.  I am very fortunate to have such a great group of athletes at the gym to train.  I love being a mentor, friend, fellow triathlete, and coach.  It was a very rewarding season full of successes and pr’s.

tri pre

Open Water Practice Swim w/ my PLF peeps

plf womens

A portion of the PLF ladies at the Omaha Women’s

Somehow in the middle of our group season, I had my arm twisted to do the Papillion Sprint Triathlon to prep for Nationals, and of course in my true nature, could not say no.  I may have grumbled a bit since it is not my favorite race.  But by signing up for a second event, it motivated me to get my arse in gear and actually work on my swim-bike-run.  The night before the race, I did what I lecture my clients not to do.  I checked out, lost all mojo, wanted to bail on the race, and plain and simply put, did not care.  But then race day came and I gained my mojo quickly.  Seeing a bunch of my clients ready for race day and giving one another lots of praise and positivity gave me just the competitive edge I needed.  I had a very strong swim, but my go to goggles decided to leak, not once but 5 times, so the speed I had was lost treading water trying to readjust the goggles.  The bike was a bit of a challenge.  Much hillier than folks would expect and was a 3 loop course.  I was happy with my ride, but my ongoing aches and pains I have been fighting for the past few years decided to say hi on the bike.  I was able to suffer through the ride just in time for my least favorite part of the race.  THE RUN, ugh.  My body and me have a disagreement when it comes to the run.  Surprisingly enough, I made it through the 5k with only minor aches.  I had told myself on the run to just take it easy and do a slower pace run and it worked.  At the end of the race I was happy with how I felt and went over to look at the results.  I was absolutely floored.  I aged up this year to the 40 year old ladies and to my amazement, took 2nd overall in the 40-49 age group.  It still blows my mind that I did that well.  All of my clients that raced also did very well.  There were a lot of big smiles, pr’s, and positive energy post race.

stacy

Me and my sidekick Stacy. Thanks for guilting me into racing!

papio collage plf 2 papio

So after my unexpected success at the Papillion Triathlon, my energy level went up and I started to get much more amped up for Nationals.  Training started to really increase, especially the bike and swim portion.  My run started to really fall apart and my back, it-bands, and piriformis were giving me serious fits so I spent the two weeks prior to the event getting dry needled, massaged, and acupunctured.  It helped a bit, but I knew in the end that it would probably not be enough.  But I sucked it up and said my famous Heatherism (thanks Renee), “it is what it is”.  Anxiety levels were definitely high for Nationals.  I knew I was a bit out of my league, those at this event are the best of the best age group athletes.  I kept trying to come to grips with this known fact, but mentally it was a hurdle that I could not jump.

But you have heard enough about my injuries and jitters.  Jump forward to the race.  The day before the race, I stopped down at the race check-in.  Parking was beyond a disaster and my kids did not appreciate the tour of the less than ideal part of Omaha to get to Carter Lake.  After taking the long walk into the event with my bike, my anxiety level started to go through the roof.  I have a very nice Trek Madone road bike, but looking around at all the $5K-$10K bikes I really began to realize how out of my league I really was.  The folks at the race were not just average joe triathletes, they were amazing athletes.  I have done over 20 races in the past 5 years and typically there are some superstar athletes with a lot of average every day athletes at the venues.  This time, I felt like the flubby out of shape athlete compared to all the beautiful physiques that I was surrounded by.  Even my kids kept commenting about how lean and strong everyone looked (which is quite scary since they are only 9 and 11 years old).

On race day, 4 am came way to early.  As I ventured off to the race I was at peace with myself and confident that I would at least have a decent swim and bike and knew the run, even though flat would be a challenge with my injuries.  Once I got to transition, I right away found a few of my gals from Prairie Life and we ended up hanging out til go time.  We shared a some laughs, plotted the course, networked with fellow triathletes, and got rather relaxed since most of us had very late start times, mine being one of the last at 9:45 am (the latest start time I have ever had for a triathlon).

Oddly enough, even all the way up until my start time, I stay very relaxed.  It seems I worked out all my stress of the race long before. Once it was time to hit the dock, I was more that ready to tri.  The swim was in the less than ideal Carter Lake.  In Omaha, it is known as a pretty nasty lake, but I know the race directors were focused on keeping the race in an area close to the downtown.  I embraced the fact that I was swimming in Carter Lake and with my track record would most likely pick up a bacteria infection (which ironically I did).  So back to the swim, it went decent.  Our start was a bit unique, almost 200 gals lined up side by side on the dock and waited for what seemed like 15 minutes before we got the go ahead to get into the lake.  Once in the lake, we waded for a few more minutes before the horn went off.  Once it was time to go, everyone spread out amazingly well.  These were definitely no average joe swimmers, I knew I had to swim strong and hard to keep up.  Which is exactly what I did.  I did not have the swim time I wanted, but coming out of the water I was happy with my swim.  I barely got touched or bumped and everyone was very courteous in the water which is rare to find in an open water swim.  Once I came out of the water I did my usual strong run to transition and took off as quick as possible.   I am scolding myself for not paying more attention to the actual course though.  With over 2000 athletes, transition was big which is to be expected, but what I was not prepared for was running in my cycling shoes for about 1/8 of a mile before being able to hop on the bike.  After getting on the bike I did my normal routine of relaxing the body, hydrating, and getting into my ride mode.  The ride was very pleasant, the only thing I disliked was that the younger guys, 35-39 were behind me so once all the tt bikes started to catch me all I could hear was heavy breathing and deep dish wheels flying past.  I had an ok bike overall, I could have gone faster and stronger, but decided to save my muscles a bit for the run.

 

usat-bike

The LONG Bike Transition

So onto the run.  It was a very flat run going through Carter Lake and heading south through the industrial park to TD Ameritrade baseball stadium.  About a mile in my left knee started to swell.  I said I was not going to walk until absolutely necessary so I sucked it up until the 2nd water station.  By then the air temp was getting very hot and humid with no shade to be found anywhere.  During the turnaround in the baseball stadium at mile 3ish, my body told me it was done.  I knew from that moment that the last 3 miles were going to be painful and ugly.  I did a sufferefest run/walk combo just with the goal to run through the finish line.  And that is exactly what I did.  Not only was it amazing to cross the finish line, but some of my friends from Prairie Life were volunteering at the finish line and swooped in to care for me.  They made me feel like royalty even though in the back of my brain I knew I did not have the perfect race.

usat-finish

I am frustrated by my body, but am very proud to say I was able to compete at such a high level.  This race has given me a new respect for the sport and has given me the drive to really focus on healing my damaged body and set some new race goals.

Fit and healthy is my new strong moving forward!

usat-number

2016 is MY year!

usat 2016

This is what I woke up to yesterday morning on my email.  I knew that it might be coming, but had in all reality pushed it to some far reaching land in the back of my brain.   The email caught me a bit off guard but I was filled with optimism and excitement as I shared this news on social media for all my friends and followers.  All the words of praise, motivation, and encouragement had me very excited.

And then today happened.  I got the official email with the link to register.  So of course, I decided to just take the plunge.  Well, I cringed when I saw the price, but decided, hey this is possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity, just suck it up and do it.  I continued on with the registration, but it was not like any other race registration I had done before.  This one got personal, pretty much a sports resume.  I had to starting surfing the web for some of my race results to find times, pr’s, etc.  At that point my brain got the best of me and I started doubting myself.  What the heck am I getting myself into?  Why do I want to race with such fast folks?  Why do I want to embarrass myself?  How the heck am I going to find time to train?  Will I still be a role model for my triathlon clients if the race is a complete disaster? I know I am over thinking-I have done enough Olympic distance triathlons with mediocre training and been fine, but this race is different.  As a triathlon coach who pushes athletes to give it their all and never give up, I have to be the best version of myself at this race.  That is a lot of pressure since I am not some world famous athlete.  I am an average Joe that absolutely love triathlon , especially the cycling piece.  I love to train, talk to folks about the sport, participate in races, volunteer, travel to events, and coach.  And as far as I am concerned, this is anything but an average Joe race.  This is the best of the best in the country.  Holy crap!

So what is the plan of attack as a full-time bike manager in a bike shop, part-time trainer/triathlon coach, mother, wife, care-taker, and friend?

Step 1: Express my fears and concerns (you are reading them)!  And try to stay positive (hard to do when it is 10 degrees outside and trying to fight off the winter depression)!

Step 2: Focus on weight management.  I got way off track this winter.  Too much social drinking, eating out, and getting lazy with my nutrition.  My body is not very happy with me.  But thanks to some peer pressure from some other friends who got off the wagon this winter, we are all cleansing right now and focusing on our nutrition.

Step 3: Create a practical plan of attack for “off-season” to rebuild my endurance.  This is critical since spring and summer are so insane at work, kids out of school, select travel baseball, volunteer time with DEVO (Youth Mountain Bike Group). This will have to consist of getting in some solid runs, swims, trainer rides, and yoga.  Weights need to slow down a bit, I love them too much and they do not get along very well with endurance.

Step 4: Create an on-season plan for my crazy life (no idea at this point what this will look like).

Step 5: Make sure my calendar is always organized  for me and my hubby’s sake.

Step 6: Try to have fun while in an on-going state of stress.  Life is such a juggling act, I need to find the perfect balance, and it is a delicate balance.

Step 7: Ask folks for help.  This is probably my hardest step.  I like things done my way, but when life gets chaotic, I need to be ok with an extra set of hands.  This may actually be my hardest struggle of all.  And those that know me, know I never like to ask for help.

Step 8: Lean on my fitness friends to help push me, train with me, and keep me on track.  I can do it easily enough for others, but have a hard time focusing on myself.  And I keep reminding myself, that even though 2016 is not starting off great, this year is about being the best I can be.  I have shared this picture before, but feel I need to post again to help remind myself of the goal I set for myself:

motivations 2

A friend the other day told me that she had lost her mojo over the winter and just had no motivation regarding triathlons and racing in general.  I can completely relate, but now that I have clicked the submit button, I have a goal and there is no turning back.  It is a very challenging goal, but I can and will accomplish it!  USAT Nationals will be my race this year. 

As a final note and something I just found on facebook:

priority

 

 

4th Annual Team Triathlon Training

I am pleased to announce that back by popular demand for a 4th season will  be the triathlon training group I have helped co-train for the past 3 seasons. We are expecting a huge turnout this year and would absolutely love to get some fresh faces.  We are fun, energetic, supportive, strong, active, encouraging, and empowering individuals that create an awesome team environment.  We are also teaming up with some awesome local businesses and products to provide a great experience for every athlete.  And of course, all skills levels are welcome (from the beginner with no swim experience to the podium finisher).  So come one, come all!

4th ANNUAL

TEAM TRIATHLON TRAINING

12 Week Program

March 19th-June 7th, leading up to the Omaha Women’s Triathlon

Location: Prairie Life Fitness (132nd/Center St) Omaha, NE

Group Class times: Thursday 9:30am or 6:00 pm

Group activity on Saturday and/or Sunday each week

Cost:  $150 members /$175 non-members

Led by:

Heather Dall – Certified Triathlon Coach

Stacy Houck –  Certified Personal Trainer

For inquiries, either post here, or shoot me a message at hdall@prairielife.com

Omaha Women's 2014

Adios 2014, Bring it 2015!

I must admit, I have been a bit AWOL for the past few months.  Not for lack of trying, but thanks to good old writers block.  But I am back and want to recap 2014.  I promise not to bore anyone with a brag fest about myself, but rather just highlight the high’s and less of the lows of the year.

Excitement number 1 for 2014.  My broken elbow bike injury from 2013 healed up nicely so I decided to hit the year hard.  I started off with a bang by spending way too much money to sign up for the Triple Bypass Ride in Colorado.  As noted in a previous post, my whole training season consisted of riding, riding, riding.  As a result, I did in fact do the ride in July and yes, it was the hardest ride of my life thanks to 3 mountain passes and almost 12,000 feet of elevation.  Since my body was already used to intense training, I decided it was time to do my first 70.3.  I opted for the Pigman in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  After having a full year off of triathlons thanks to my elbow recovery, I had no idea what to expect.  With the name alone, I figured it would be a country type race and I was right.  Lake was absolutely beautiful and I found out very quickly during the race that I love 1.2 mile swims in open water.  I am frustrated that I did not push myself more, but did not want to overdue for my first 70.3.  The bike was fine, rolling country hills and less than smooth country highways with a slight breeze.  I have no complaints about the 56 mile bike except it was just boring.  I got spoiled in Colorado with amazing scenery and great company.  But I have no complaints about my ride except legs were a bit heavy from only a week of recovery from Colorado.  And then there is the run.  Started off pretty solid and set a goal of stopping at each water stop on the 90 degree day to get fuel and walk til my hands were empty and then start running again.  This method worked awesome until the turnaround halfway.  My good ol injuries decided to make their appearance and bring some extra unwanted friends.  So for about 6 miles I hopped, hobbled, gimped, walked, and jogged to the finish.  I must say in retrospect, I knew going into this race that a half marathon was not going to be pretty since my IT bands tend to act up at mile six.  But gosh darn it, I finished and can now say I have done a 70.3.  Will I ever do one again or do an official Ironman 70.3?  Maybe, but not quite sure.  My true love is the bike, X-Terra, Olympic distance races, and coaching so not exactly sure what my future holds in store for me.  But at least I went big in 2014.

Pigman 2014

 

2014 was a very big learning year for me.  I needed some CEU’s for my triathlon coach certification, so rather than do something boring, I decided to expand my current knowledge base.  I was fortunate enough to become Water Safety Instructor Certified (WSI).  It was a long 2 days of classroom and pool instruction, but was well worth it.  I feel like I am a much more proficient swim coach now and it even improved my own swim skills.  Besides WSI, I was very fortunate to partake in IMBA’s Instructor Certification Program (ICP) Level 1 Ride Coach Course.  Thanks to my awesome connections with the Trek Stores in Omaha and Papillion I found out that IMBA was coming to Omaha.  I jumped on this immediately since I knew I wanted my 9 year old daughter to experience DEVO and figured she would want me as a coach.  Plus I am always wanting to improve my own mountain bike skills and have clients who want me to take them out on the mountain bike.  From the minute I walked in the classroom, I knew I was a bit out of my league with Cat 1 racers, elite racers, and two instructors with very impressive bios (former pro downhill racer and a snowboard/ski coach for the US Olympic team).  After 2.5 days of classroom and on the bike training, I was one beat down girl both mentally and physically.  I learned a lot of skills about my own bike skills and had to make a lot of improvements, realized that as much as I love my 1st edition Gary Fisher Sugar GS signed by Fisher personally, my bike is outdated and old school, but I PASSED the class!  Boom, enough said.IMBA Skills-ICPIMBA Course Completion

 

Moving on, I am very big on giving back in the community.  I try my darndest to volunteer at races and this year I went above and beyond and was not only a lead coach for Omaha DEVO but also for my daughter’s elementary running club.  I have a knack for coaching kids and found it is very stressful, but very fun and rewarding at the same time.  As a tennis coach I know that youth are the future of sports so it is vital to make it fun, get them involved, and learn a few skills at the same time.  I must say the run club was a bit of challenge.  50 girls chatting and picking flowers while running is not ideal, but they ran.  My daughter had a tough season due to foot issues, aka growing pains, but it was still a rewarding experience.  I think both my daughter and I had more fun with DEVO.  Any excuse to get on a bike is good for me.  And there is nothing better than watching little kids rocking the mountain bike, hitting the jumps and berms, and learning how to properly shift and brake on dirt.  It was by far the best volunteer experience I have ever had.  Not to say there were no hurdles and folks butting heads a bit, but the end result was lots of kids having fun on mountain bikes.  Sole SistersDEVODEVO

No summary is not complete without talking about my awesome triathlon clients.  The group I co-lead has grown by leaps and bounds this past year.  I am amazed by the improvements my former clients have made and am extremely impressed by the accomplishments of the new folks.  I have people from every walk of like and this past year is no exception.  I have folks that do not know how to swim at all to those taking the podium in their age group.  I have a unique group of people that tend to train for the shorter distance races such as sprint and Olympic due to work and family obligations, but regardless of the distance, I am extremely impressed by everyone’s hard work, dedication, and commitment to TRIATHLON.  Without my awesome clients, I would not have a job.  I am truly grateful for each and every person and look forward to what will come in 2015.  I plan to have everyone set goals starting tomorrow.  It may be as simple as to finish a triathlon without walking or PR in a race, but whatever their goals may be we will work to make them successful.  I expect this to be a big year in triathlon, especially now that the industry is growing in Omaha and the midwest. If you are at a race, keep an eye out for my awesome Prairie Life triathletes!!!

Omaha Women's 2014

 

No year cannot be complete without thanking those that have helped to support.  I am fortunate at a coach and amateur athlete to have some awesome sponsors, ambassadors, and employment.  Thank you for the support in 2014/2015:

Swiftwick     Rudy Project     FitFluentail     Ride Live be     Prairie Life Fitness     Red Dirt Running Company     Mott’s     Active Ambassadors     TYR Endurance Sport     Vitality Sciences     JUNK Bands     Coeur Sports     Race Omaha      GoTribal     Juice+         

What to take away from 2014 is in order to have a great year, it is about the effort you put into it.  Setting goals early are huge.  Personally and as a coach I am not as big on numbers, gadgets, and all the extra bells and whistles.  Our bodies are the primary machine.  Treat them well, work em hard, challenge them, get outside the comfort zone, and for goodness gracious, just have fun!  If it is not fun, it is not worth doing.  And one thing that I do not mention enough, make sure to involve the family.  Even if they do not have your interests, somehow try to find something you can all do together.  Endurance sports are not for everyone and take a lot of time and training so make sure your support system is there to support you and way possible.  Team support is vital, but family is essential.

So on that note, I bid you a farewell to 2014 from my adventurous family to yours and wish you well in 2015!

Adventureland

Enrich Your Life, Leave A Legacy

Omaha Breakfast event 9-20 (3)

To all my awesome readers, especially those in the Omaha metro, I will be one of 3 keynote speakers telling my fitness, nutrition, and career story at a very casual breakfast event coming up on Saturday September 20th.  Yes we will be talking business, but with a fun spin:  learn how you can have it all…a family, friends, professional fulfillment, and support building your own business centered around helping others…with the good health to enjoy it all!

I would love to have some of you come learn a little, network, and be surrounded by other like minded individuals.  If you have questions, feel free to shoot me a personal message to hdmdall@hotmail.com.  All the info/details are listed in the blue tab at the top of this post.

Happy Labor Day!

Coach

 

 

May is National Running Month

I tend to ignore all the invites I get on facebook. But for some reason yesterday I clicked on one and it was an invite for running one mile per day for the entire month of May to celebrate National Running Month. I clicked yes right away and realized after saying yes, that this is actually a big challenge between work and kids starting summer vacation. But I have a promise to myself to do this. Not only will it keep my legs strong for triathlon season, I can include the whole family and motivate and inspire others. And of course my brain started spinning last night and after a quick email to my boss at the gym, I realized why not stop at me, let’s invite everyone at my gym. So are you up for the challenge run 1 mile per day for the entire month of May???

Here is the form I created for work.  Feel free to do something similar.  Let’s get energized and help make everyone a little healthier!  As my friends at Swiftwick would say, “Do What Moves You”

PLF 1 MILE RUNNING CHALLENGE

Training and Race Day Stress (part 1)

I have been struggling to find the perfect topic to discuss, but no worries, I have came up with the perfect topic to discuss prior to most races. Do any of you struggle with anxiety or stress during training or a race????? I would like to say I don’t but the reality is, we all stress a bit. And this stress can be related to many factors. I want to pr at my race, I hate swimming in open water, I had a bad crash on the bike and do not have the confidence, I have been battling injuries while training-what will happen on race day…

nerves
So how do we handle this stress? Let me highlight a few of the bigger problems so during your training you can work on your stress level to be more confident at the race.
#1 Avoiding burnout from training:
This is a huge problem, but luckily for triathlete’s this is not as big of a problem since you are training for 3 disciplines and hopefully doing some weights and yoga. Best solution to burnout, is to not look at the big picture, but to set daily or weekly goals instead. I have some monster training plans, but refuse to look ahead, one week at a time. I just told a client today who is struggling with some injuries due to overuse, that her body is burning out from the hard training and to take a week off. Yes she grumbled, but she gets it. Even though it may seem like a set back, taking time off will help let the body reset.

#2 Motivation:
Motivation is similar to burnout, but different in that you need to set goals. These goals are the key to staying motivated. When you get off track you need to reassess and adjust accordingly. I oddly enough have more clients that do a large group training than individual training I believe that the large group training is what keeps them motivated. You find those people at similar skill levels and you can push one another. I will let you in on a little trainer secret. When setting race goals, don’t just set a race goal. I always ask clients to write down the race they are training for, a realistic goal, a future/better than normal race day goal, and just had a bad race day goal. When trying to motivate oneself, we need to remind ourselves that not every day is the same. There are a lot of factors in a triathlon from weather, mechanical issues, tough race course, injuries, nutrition problems, etc. So in a nutshell, set goals and throughout your training keep reminding yourself of your goals!

#3 Swim Anxiety:

This is probably the number one issue for triathletes, especially beginner triathletes.  It is almost impossible to replicate an open water swim in a pool which for most of us is where we have been training during the long cold winter month.  Discussing all the tips and drills for open water swimming and how to use a wetsuit is a totally separate article.  If there is one tip I can give, swim a lot.  Become confident with your stroke, swim with people in your lane and get used to getting hit, kicked, jabbed, goggles getting knocked off.  These are some of the more common issues during the swim portion of a race.  Like I said, we cannot mimic a lake when we are in the pool but we can at least get our brains prepared for what is to come.  And as soon as it is warm, get in a lake and practice.  Lakes can be dark, smelly, spooky, strange things floating, fish nibbling, etc. so by getting into a lake many times prior to a race will help you to be prepared race day.  Luckily in Omaha, the Race Omaha series offers open water swim practices which is a great way to get some of the jitters out prior to race day.  I cannot promise that the jitters will be gone race day, but we can eliminate some of the guessing ahead of time.

Hopefully by discussing some of the basic things that lead to stress will help you to identify your individual stressors and ways to help deal with them.  If you have questions, please let me know.  I do not want to call myself an expert by any means, but am experienced as a racer, coach, and race volunteer.  I have experienced all of these at some point during my training and race days.

Part 2 (Focus, confidence, race day anxiety)

 

 

If You Run Slow, Who Cares?????

Folks, once again I cannot take credit for this article, but feel that it send a very important message to runners, the power of positive thinking and that running is simply put, running. Be proud of your accomplishments whether big or small, don’t stress about the PR’s, make running a healthy and fun lifestyle versus beating yourself up about speed and time. Please take a moment to read this and reflect…

Content courtesy of Competitor.com

When I first started working with age group and recreational runners in 2006, one of the biggest surprises to me was the amount of negative thinking and lack of self-confidence many runners exhibited. Almost every runner that joined the group introduced themselves to me by stating “I’m probably the slowest person you’ve ever coached” or “you probably don’t work with runners as slow as I am.”

It didn’t matter what their personal bests actually were, almost all conversations started in a similar manner.

Unfortunately, I’ve found that not much has changed in the last seven years. Many runners, both new and experienced, hesitate to join local running groups or participate in online communities. When asked why, most respond that they are embarrassed by how slow they are.

I’m here to tell you that you’re not slow and that this negative, self-deprecating thinking is only holding you back from your true potential!

I’ll admit, this article won’t be as grounded in scientific research and specific how-to advice as my usual pieces. However, shifting your mindset about how you perceive yourself is more important than any workout or training run you could ever do.

The Power Of Positive Thinking

From a pure performance perspective, thinking negatively can inhibit you from achieving your potential. While thinking you’re slow may seem harmless, every time you preface a statement with the phrase, “I know I am slow, but …” you condition your mind to believe that you can never be fast.

Countless research studies in sports psychology have proven the power of positive thinking and self-talk. Athletes who go into a workout or race with positive thoughts perform significantly better and more consistently than those who approach workouts and races with a negative attitude.

Reframing your belief in yourself starts before a workout or race. If you’re negative and lack self-confidence throughout your training, no amount of pre-race self-talk and mental preparation is going to undo weeks or months of self-deprecation. Positive thinking starts with how you frame every aspect of your running.

I understand that it’s hard to change your perception of your running ability, so here is some helpful advice:

Regardless Of Your Speed, Running Is The Same

Here’s a secret about running. The feeling you get after a new PR, the satisfaction from a tough workout well done, and the disappointment from a bad performance all feel the same no matter how fast you are. That’s the beauty of our sport.

There is no difference between the runner who breaks 30 minutes for the 5K for the first time and the one that breaks 16 minutes. Both worked hard, sacrificed to achieve their goal, and experienced the same challenges.

That means all runners can relate to each other, no matter their speed.

I’ve run under 29 minutes for a 10K. I still get nervous about finishing last (in fact, I have the distinguished accomplishment of finishing second-to-last at two consecutive U.S. championships), there’s still a lot I don’t know about training, and I have had more than my fair share of bad workouts, injuries, and poor races.

Therefore, there’s no need to preface any of your questions or thoughts about running with “I am slow.” I’m fast and I face the same challenges and fears. All runners do.

There’s Always Someone Faster

Unless you’re Kenenisa Bekele, Mo Farah or Galen Rupp, chances are there is always going to be someone faster than you. Fast is relative.

I get it. You run 12 or 15 minutes per mile and are embarrassed to call yourself a runner because a lot of people are faster. Here’s a secret: “fast” runners feel the same way.

Former professional runner Ryan Warrenburg recently discussed how he’s hesitant to call himself an “elite” runner. Ryan has run 13:43 for a 5K — I’d call that fast and worthy of elite status. Do you know where his time ranks him in the world? I don’t because it’s way outside the top 500 (sorry, Ryan).

What’s Wrong With Being ‘Slow?’

OK, so I can’t convince you that being “slow” is all a frame of reference. So I’ll ask you, why does being slow even matter?

Runners are perhaps the most welcoming and friendly group of athletes I’ve ever met. No runner I know has a problem slowing down to run with a friend. Think about it. Would you enjoy a run with a friend, even if you had to slow down considerably for them to keep up? I bet you would, and your running group feels the same.

Second, regardless of your pace, you’re doing better than almost 80 percent of Americans. In a study conducted by the CDC, researchers found that less than 20 percent of Americans get the recommended levels of exercise, and more than a quarter of U.S. adults do not devote any time to physical activity.

I hope you can look at some of these statistics and insights from runners who are “fast” and realize speed is merely a state of mind. Once you can reframe your thoughts on your speed and potential, you open yourself up for great things to happen with your training and racing.

The next time you want to join a running club, ask a question to a fellow runner, or want to sign up for a race but get nervous about “being slow,” ask yourself this: “Does it really matter?”

Read more at http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2014/04/training-tips/if-you-run-slow-who-cares_22791#o5fq1OtTf5LCdQCU.99

Goodbye 2013, bring on 2014

“I am injured, I am an Ironman”

I do not have a ton to report right now, so felt the need to share some humor I stumbled across. This video is a classic. Even though I do not do longer distance triathlons, the conversation is still similar to one I would have with a non-triathlete. I challenge you to not laugh (and pardon the tid bit of profanity).
Happy Tuesday!

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